In 2 Kings 20, 21 we have the story of two kings. No, it’s not the show off the Disney channel either. It’s about two actual kings. Hezekiah is the first king. He honestly tried to serve God and follow Him as the ruler. He cleaned up the worship, got rid of the fake idols, and turned the nation back to God. A lot of what he did was tremendous, and God blessed him for it. But, the story shows he wasn’t wise, because he showed an enemy nation all of his money and riches, basically tempting them to come take it, which they eventually did. He also was selfish. When he was told by Isaiah that his children would lose the kingdom and be carried off into slavery one day, his response was “Oh well, at least it’s not going to happen to me, so no big deal.” Yeah, not someone we would consider a hero.
The second king was named Manasseh. He’s the king in 2 Kings 21. He is just the opposite of Hezekiah. He didn’t want anything to do with God, and worked very hard to be as unGodly as he could. He had the nation worship everything except for God. He murdered his son as a sacrifice to a fake God. He put an idol in the Temple, where God was supposed to meet with the people. He was incredibly intentional about being evil.
What is surprising is that Manasseh was king immediately after Hezekiah. Even more surprising is that Manasseh was Hezekiah’s son. His own son. Raised in his house. As a prince. What happened?! How can a king follow God and do so much to set the nation straight, only to have his son undo all of it and go even farther in the direction of evil? Hezekiah didn’t live a life of influence on those closest to him. He did a lot of great things publicly, but didn’t work to love and influence those in his own house. It destroyed the nation. Thousands of people were killed and lost their homes and families because of it.
Who are you influencing? No, seriously, who are you influencing? Are you spending all of your time trying to impress those outside your home, hoping to create a good name, an attractive image? You’ll probably succeed. But what will it cost you?
Or are you intentionally focusing on those God has placed closest to you? Influencing those friends and family members who are with you everyday may not be as glamorous or intoxicating, but it is what we are called to do. It’s how the truth and good news of Jesus gets passed on. Parents, are you intentionally training and teaching your kids? Kids, are you working to influence and model a Jesus kind of life for your parents, brothers, and sisters?
It’s what we are called to. And when we don’t, we destroy entire kingdoms.